Climate

Ted Cruz Responds To Gov. Jerry Brown Calling Him ‘Absolutely Unfit’ To Run For Office

CREDIT: AP images/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.

This was an especially busy weekend for Ted Cruz, but the first-term Republican senator from Texas still found time to disparage those who care about climate change.

Responding to California Gov. Jerry Brown’s (D) remarks on Meet the Press on Sunday that Cruz was “absolutely unfit” to run for office because of his “direct falsification of the existing scientific data” on climate change, Cruz said Sunday that “global warming alarmists” like Brown “ridicule and insult anyone who actually looks at the real data.”

Speaking on Sirius XM’s Breitbart News Sunday, Cruz said that Brown and other proponents of action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change engage in “ad hominem attacks” and “don’t want to confront the data” on climate change. Cruz said that satellites are showing that warming isn’t happening, even though “apocalyptic computer models said that we would see substantial warming.”

This attack is the latest in a string of confusing forays Cruz has recently made into the conversation around climate change. Last week on Late Night With Seth Meyers, Cruz bolstered his satellite argument with the evidence of snow in the Northeast.

After telling Meyers that he just got back from New Hampshire, where where there was “snow and ice everywhere,” he said that “satellite data demonstrate for the last 17 years there’s been zero warming — none whatsoever.”

As ClimateProgress has previously reported, Cruz’s claim that there hasn’t been any warming in recent years has been thoroughly debunked numerous times: this so-called “pause” in warming is actually a faux pause.

About 90 percent of the warming over the last 17 years has occurred in the oceans, the impacts of which will start to be felt more acutely in the near future. Greenland’s ice melt has increased five-fold since the mid-1990s. Another recent study found that sea level is rising 60 percent faster than projected.

Satellite data can also be cherry picked to show a trend. Cruz may be relying on one tree of data, when there is a forest of information pointing in the opposite direction. For instance, 2014 was the hottest year on record — although 2015 is on pace to break that record. In fact, the Northeast was one of the only colder-than-average places this winter in the world, and the contiguous U.S. still had its 19th warmest winter on record.

In addition, satellite models from the University of Huntsville in Alabama confirmed last month that the lower part of the earth’s atmosphere, the troposphere, is warming. The researchers also show that nine of the 10 hottest years on record at the Earth’s surface have now occurred in the 21st century. This directly refutes Cruz’s statements on the lack of recent warming, which likely relies on flat tropospheric temperature data.

While Cruz is trying to steer the discussion about climate change even farther away from reality, in California Gov. Brown is taking immediate measure to confront the very real challenges his state faces. California is being devastated by another year of drought, and water supplies are in especially short supply. Climate models predict this will become the new normal for the state. Last week Brown and state lawmakers proposed a $1 billion emergency drought relief plan, the second such effort in as many years. Brown has also said he wants California to use 50 percent renewable energy by 2030.

Judging by the passion both Brown and Cruz feel towards the issue of climate change, this may not be the last we hear of this acrimonious back-and-forth. Brown’s exact words for Cruz were:

“That man betokens such a level of ignorance and a direct falsification of the existing scientific data. It’s shocking and I think that man has rendered himself absolutely unfit to be running for office.”